Ecommerce titan Rakuten is doubling down on its struggling Kobo ereaders by acquiring an ebook marketplace called OverDrive. The deal, announced this afternoon, sees Rakuten buying out US-based OverDrive for US$410 million. OverDrive has over two million ebooks, audiobooks, and videos on its site. The company started out offline in 1986 selling print books and CD-ROMs, and then in 2000 it moved online to form an ebook and audiobook repository.
Indonesia has more than 50 million students who need to be educated by about 3 million teachers in the public school system, according to Anies Baswedan, the nation’s minister of education and culture. When a population is as large as Indonesia’s, an important and expensive item on the academic docket is providing textbooks, both used and new.
The Indian state of Kerala is introducing e-textbooks for its schools. The ‘Digital Collaborative Textbooks’ will feature multimedia content – including audio and video, along with scanned content from existing textbooks. More than 100,000 teachers and 3.7 million students will use the new digital textbooks from June, according to A Shahjahan, Secretary of the Department of General Education (DGE). This is the first roll-out of its kinds in India’s public school system.
NEW DELHI: Srishti Khanna is never without a book. A literature teacher in a Delhi college, the 27-year-old’s room is overflowing with contemporary and classic novels, books on history, literary theory, and philosophy. And so is her ebook reader. However, in the year and a half that she has had the reader, which she keeps encased in a black, book-like cover, she has not bought a single ebook. “They’re all available online for free. And anyway, if I have to buy a book, I might as well buy a hard copy,” she says.
Social ebook reading service Bookmate is now available in Singapore with a library of over 500,000 ebooks from 600 publishers. Available at a flat monthly fee, the service offers books from major publishers such as HarperCollins, Head of Zeus, Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail and others. As part of its international expansion efforts, Bookmate is exclusively partnering with StarHub to introduce its book-streaming service to the local reading community and engage local publishers to offer their books on the platform.
China Mobile and China Publishing Group signed a strategic deal to enhance China Mobile’s mobile reading service. With the agreement, the two parties will work together on digital reading services, including content development, e-book business model exploration, operations, and marketing. Financial terms of the deal were not released.